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Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Biden has asked Education Secretary Miguel Cardona to compile a memo on the president's legal authorities to forgive student loan debt, including canceling up to $50,000, White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain said at a Politico Playbook event Thursday.

Why it matters: Biden previously said that he opposes canceling $50,000 in student debt, opting instead for canceling $10,000. Congressional Democrats have been pushing the president to increase that number. Klain said the president will make his decision after he receives the relevant memos, including one from the Justice Department.

  • Klain said Biden is hoping to see the memos "in the next few weeks."

The big picture: The Biden administration has imposed new relief measures for student debt, including canceling student loans for students who were defrauded by for-profit schools and placing a pause on federal student loan interest for borrowers in default.

What he's saying: "[Biden will] look at that [memo on] legal authority, he'll look at the policy issues around that and he'll make a decision," Klain said.

  • "He hasn't made a decision on that either way and, in fact, he hasn't yet gotten the memos that he needs to start to focus on that decision," Klain added.

Go deeper

Education Dept. pauses collections of over 1 million student loans in default

Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The Department of Education on Tuesday expanded relief, including a pause on student loan interest accrual and collections, to more than 1.14 million borrowers in default.

Why it matters: Defaulted loans under the Federal Family Education Loan program, which are guaranteed by the U.S. government but held by private entities, had been ineligible for the COVID-related relief.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
Mar 31, 2021 - Economy & Business

How China uses secret loans for geopolitical power

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

China, like all other rich countries, lends billions of dollars to needy governments. A major new study from Georgetown University's Anna Gelpern and others shows that China's debt contracts are particularly unfriendly to debtor nations — and to the international community as a whole.

Why it matters: China is using debt contracts to place it at a geopolitical advantage not only to its debtors, but also to all other rich nations.

21 mins ago - World

Scoop: U.S. and Israel to hold strategic Iran talks on Tuesday

Jake Sullivan. Photo: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA/Bloomberg via Getty

Top national security officials from the U.S. and Israel will convene virtually on Tuesday for a second round of strategic talks on Iran, three Israeli officials tell me.

Why it matters: The talks come two days after an explosion at an Iranian nuclear facility that experts consider a likely act of Israeli sabotage, and one day before the U.S. resumes indirect nuclear talks in Vienna over a return to the 2015 nuclear deal — a prospect that has raised anxiety levels in Jerusalem.